Department of Public Information
News Coverage Service
11 June 1984
SECRETARY-GENERAL ARRIVES IN LEBANON;
MEETS WITH SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,
(Received from the Spokesman for the Secretary-General.)
AMMAN, 9 June -- Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar arrived in Lebanon on Saturday, 9 June, for the third stop on his current five-country tour of the Middle East. Flying in from Damascus, the Secretary-General's helicopter landed on the Defence Ministry grounds at Yarze.
He was greeted by Interior and Information Minister Joseph Iskaff, accompanied by the Secretary-General of the Foreign Ministry, Fouad Turk; the Director for International Organizations at the Foreign Ministry, Ghazi Chidiac; the United Nations Co-ordinator of Assistance for the Reconstruction and Development of Lebanon, Iqbal Akhund; and Lieutenant-General William Callaghan, Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Welcoming the Secretary-General, Mr. Iskaff expressed the Lebanese Government's "great appreciation for the United Nations action in favour of peace, reconstruction and liberation in Lebanon. By coming here, you have consecrated the ties uniting Lebanon to the United Nations and affirmed your preocupation for our cause", he said.
Replying to the Minister, the Secretary-General declared he hall not come to Lebanon "with miracle solutions for the Middle East problem, but with the strongest will to demonstrate the United Nations interest in the region, and in particular for Lebanon, which is, so to speak, the United Nations favourite child".
The Secretary-General then drove to the Al Bustan hotel in Belt Meri on the eastern hills overlooking Beirut, where he resided during his visit.
Later in the morning, the Secretary-General drove to the Presidential Palace at Baabda, where a Detachment of a contingent of the Presidential Guard rendered honours. He was greeted at the entrance by the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rachid Karami. The Secretary-General then had brief talks with President Amin Gemayel and Prime Minister Karami, and they were then joined by their respective delegations.
During the talks, the situation in southern Lebanon and in the western Bekaa, and the possibility of an extended UNIFIL role in the southenr part of the country were discussed. The General Assembly’s call for an international conference on the Middle East, which Lebanon supports, was also discussed, as well as possible approaches to a resumption of the negotiating process in the Middle East.
Following a luncheon given in his honour by President Gemayel, the Secretary-General met briefly with the press, before flying by helicopter to West Beirut for a meeting with Prime Minister Karami at the Serail, seat ot the Prime Minister's Office. The meeting was attended on the Lebanese side by Khalil Mekkaoui, Director for Political Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, and Chafic Bneimne, Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, Again, the talks focused on the Lebanese situation, particularly the situation in the southern part of the country.
Following the meeting, the Secretary-general told the press that Mr. Karami had informed him "very carefully" of the present situation in the country. The Secretary-General told Mr. Karami that so far as the United Nations was concerned, we are always prepared to help Lebanon, and then, at the same time, I wish and I am sure that the Lebanese will help themselves as well, in order to create the necessary conditions for all countries in the international community to try to help Lebanon in its present difficulties".
Asked how the-Secretary-General could help the Government of Lebanon, the Secretary-General said "the United Nations is always prepared to help in solving not only the Lebanese problem, which is rather an urgent one, but the Middle East problem in a global manner as well".
The Secretary-General next met with Nahib Berri, Minister of State for Southern Lebanon, at his office in West Beirut. During the 45-minute exchange of views, the situation in the south was thoroughly discussed. Mr. Berri handed the Secretary-General a memorandum on the subject, and briefed him on the difficulties experienced by the local population. The memorandum requests the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the south, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 508, 509 and 425; the reinforcement of UNIFIL; and the reopening of the coast road between Beirut and Saida. A possible role for the United Nations in security arrangements in southern Lebanon was also raised by Mr. Berri.
In the late afternoon, the Secretary-General flew back to East Beirut for a briefing at the headquarters of the Observer Group beirut given by Commandant Jacques Fourriere (France), head of the Group, and major Conway (United States), Briefing Officer. The Secretary-General was told about the patrols carried out by the Observers on both sides of the Green Line which divides Beirut, the difficulties encountered by the Observers, and their contribution to efforts to bring back civil peace to the Lebanese Capitol.
The Secretalry-General later gave an "open-house reception" at his hotel for United Nations personnel in Beirut, and for representatives of the countries contributing to UNIFIL, as well as members of the Security Council.
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For information media - not an official record